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My 15 Favorite Free SEO Tools

I’ve said it before, but I love me a good free tool. Below is a list of my fifteen favorite freebies for doing SEO. While there’s a ton of tools out there, this article means to highlight the essentials.  It’s nice to have a huge arsenal, but it can be more powerful to wield a few powerful weapons expertly.

15. GTmetrix

Having a tool to examine page speed and diagnose opportunities for improvement  is now an essential part of the SEO toolkit. This is because anything that impacts user-experience impacts SEO, and site speed is a big deal for UX. Many page-speed tools exist; I’ve found GTmetrix reliable and a good balance between thorough and user-friendly.

GTMetrix

 

14. SEO-browser

seo-browser

SEO-Browser does one simple thing: it takes a web-page and shows you what it looks like to a search engine, without all the graphics and without anything the search engine can’t digest.

This is a great shortcut for those who don’t want to go through the technical details of search engine accessibility requirements like alt text, flash, Ajax, blah, blah, blah. It’s also great for double-checking technical analysis and for taking a step back from technical details to get a birds-eye view.

 

13. Wayback Machine

The Wayback Machine is the Internet’s most complete historical archive, and lets you see what a website used to look like back in the day. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used it for detective work  to crack client cases of missing traffic. If the numbers for a site have changed and something about that site has changed  but you don’t have a site back-up available – the Wayback Machine has your back.

wayback

Plus, it’s just fun to see how much better your site looks since the Geocities days.

 

12. Xenu Link Sleuth

Don’t be fooled by the unassuming web-site. Xenu is a pretty powerful website crawler that crawls all the links on your site and reports on URL metrics like HTTP status code, content type, page size and more. And it’s really good at finding broken links. I actually no longer use it because we use a paid crawler, but Xenu is probably your best bet for a hassle-free, dollar-free crawl of a site that has more than a few hundred URLs.

xenu

 

11. Web Developer Toolbar

web developer toolbar
The Web Developer Toolbar has become much relied-upon during the technical phase of our audits. Below are 3 articles explaining how to use all the goodies:

 

10. Majestic SEO

Majestic SEO’s flagship product is a powerful link analysis tool that crawls the entire web, logs billions of backlinks, and makes the link data available to you. You can get full access for any site you can verify control of (via Meta tag or Google Webmaster Tools ownership verification), enabling you to see every link to your site Majestic knows about ( a lot).

It’s by far the #1 free tool to examine your link profile, and I prefer it over paid tools for some tasks due to it’s freshness and size of database. Even for competitor sites you can’t verify, it offers some useful data.

 

9. SEO Book SEO Toolbar

SEObook_Toolbar

This  browser toolbar puts a bunch of information about the page you’re viewing right at your fingertips. This includes:

  • link data from Majestic SEO, Moz, Ahrefs, and more.
  • traffic data from Compete, SEM Rush, Alexa, and more.
  • on-page keyword optimization data including usage of keywords, header tags and more.

My only issue is that this is a Firefox-only toolbar.

 

8. SEO Quake

SEO Quake

SEO Quake is a bit similar to the SEO Book Toolbar, and while not very pretty, is available on multiple browsers, including Chrome. SEO Quake shows data on traffic, links, social shares, on-page keyword optimization and more. The SEO Quake website has lot’s of helpful tips on what to do with all this data.

 

7. Google Trends

Google Trends

Marketers who know where the puck is heading tend to win more. Google Trends shows changes in search query volume for specific queries. They also have trend data on topics now in beta.

For marketers, especially in volatile industries like technology and fashion, it’s critical to at least keep up with the market. And, if you can master online trends analysis and get a step ahead of the competition, the results can be quite profitable indeed. For search marketers, it makes good sense to analyze changes in search query behavior. Even everyday writers can knock an article out of the park if they cover a soon-to-be high interest topic before everyone else gets to it. 

Bottom line: while often overlooked, Trends is an extremely powerful tool in the right hands. Below are some resources with Trends tips:

 

6. Screaming Frog


Screaming Frog is a website crawler designed specifically for SEO. Within mere minutes, you’ll get critical data on every URL. Best to just download it and take it for a spin. Once you see all that data, you’ll have questions, but they have a good user guide. The free version has most of the functionality, but only can crawl 500 URLs at a time.

 

5. Google Keyword Planner

Keyword Planner

The tool formerly known as Adwords Keyword Tool, Google’s Keyword Planner still let’s you pull monthly Google search query volume estimates for dozens of keywords in seconds. I can never understate the importance of knowing what people search for.

 

4. Bing Webmaster Tools

BWT

Bing Webmaster Tools (aka BWT) remains extremely overlooked. It’s great for keeping an eye on how Bing (which powers Yahoo) is treating your site and also enables you to have some control in the matter. But it offers benefits beyond Bing, like insight into crawling, indexation, on-page keyword optimization, and other elements that can impact your performance in Google. I wrote an article on some ways (like the nifty Keyword Research Tool) to use BWT a while back. BWT also has a great help section.

 

3. Moz

moz

SERP_Overlay Moz is a suite of user-friendly inbound marketing tools. Below are my favorite free Moz tools:

  • Open Site Explorer is a link crawler like Majestic SEO known for very helpful metrics approximating link equity.
  • Followerwonk shows data on Twitter.
  • GetListed let’s you see the state of a company’s local citations and is to go-to for starting a local SEO campaign.
  • Mozbar is a browser toolbar that lets you quickly get at Moz’s key features for the page you’re on.
  • The SERP Overlay (seen on the right) shows OSE metrics on individual search results.

 

2. Google Webmaster Tools

GWT_screenshot

Like BWT, GWT helps you keep monitor and configure how Google is treating your site. That’s a pretty big deal. I wrote a bit on GWT before. Simon Hesltine wrote an excellent article on getting started with GWT and using some of the most important features. More articles on GWT Tips are below:

 

1. Google Analytics

If you’re reading this blog, chances are you’ve used Google Analytics. I think we may have written about it once or twice.

For me, the most valuable SEO data is that which helps you understand your visitors  and how they interact with your site.  No tool I’ve used – paid or free – delivers that data like  Google Analytics, and none of the tools I mentioned does a better job on the data closest to the metric that matters most – the bottom line.

Thus, GA is the tool I depend on the most.

 

Honorable Mentions

moar

Looks like I can’t count; here’s a few more free cool tools I use:

  • BuiltWith is a lightweight, user-friendly Chrome plugin that will tell what technology a site uses (like cms, server, hosting, analytics, and more).
  • Firebug is a Firefox extension for web dev and technical SEO to help you inspect elements of code, code mockups live into the browser, and more.
  • Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, and WebPagetest are all decent alternatives to GTmetrix that diagnose page speed.
  • UberSuggest lets you enter in a keyword and then quickly spits out a ton of great long-tail keywords.
  • Google SERP Snippet Optimization Tool is a simple tool I use often to see what my Meta descriptions and title tags would look like in the SERPs (i.e. if they would get truncated).
  • Hootsuite is one of many platforms for managing and scheduling social media posts. Such a platform is essential for social media management.
  • CopyScape let’s you enter a URL and learn if there is duplicate content elsewhere on the web.
  • SEMrush shows data on paid and organic traffic and keywords. Accessible through the SEObook and SEOQuake Toolbars.
  • SpyFu, like SEMrush shows some data on paid and organic keywords and traffic.

 

These aren’t “SEO” per say, but I love them so:

  • Jing is my go-to screen capture tool and is what I used for the screenshots in this post and every post.
  • Notepad++ is a lightweight text editor on steroids and two-time winner of the SourceForge Community Choice Award for Best Developer Tool.
  • Boomerang for Gmail helps me with e-mail management, reminders, client follow-ups, and scheduling outreach emails.
  • Dropbox helps store and backup all the gigabytes I make and makes them easy to share.
  • Excel is every search marketers friend. Wicked Excel skills are a search marketing superpower.

 

Moarrr????

MoArRRRrrrr!!!!!!!!!!

 

No Mas. I’m tapping out. But below you’ll find links to crazy amounts of more free tools:

Reid Bandremer

About Reid Bandremer

Reid Bandremer is an Senior Search Project Manager. His background before joining LunaMetrics in 2011 includes eCommerce marketing experience and a pair of business degrees. He is a rabid fan of music and holistic, ROI-driven search marketing strategy. Other strengths include organic search marketing segmentation, migrations, and metrics. Contrary to popular theory, Reid is not homeless – he just often stays at the office late because he is obsessed with increasing traffic value to clients’ sites.

http://www.lunametrics.com/blog/2014/02/13/15-favorite-free-seo-tools/

29 Responses to “My 15 Favorite Free SEO Tools”

Better Graph says:

SEO-browser is good one, now we do not need to check by site:, after google indexing. There is 2 new tool for me SEO-browser and GTmetrix. Thanks for sharing.

Kevin says:

You obviously use seo-browser a lot – it’s not been free for quite some time!

Reid Bandremer Reid Bandremer says:

Kevin,

Actually, it’s still free, but I know why you think it isn’t — I thought the same!

If you put in a URL and just hit enter, it will now take you to the “advanced” mode, and this is now no longer free.

BUT, if you it click “simple”, then you can get the free version. It’s still super useful. Enjoy.

Jeff Nelson says:

Great article. Thanks for mentioning seo-browser.com. Jeff

Danielle says:

Another great free tool that does about the same thing as seo-browser.com is browseo.net. And it’s completely free.

Also, a good replacer (and lighter) for web developer extension is pendule extension.

Reid Bandremer Reid Bandremer says:

Thanks Danielle,

I checked out both tools. browseo.net is very similar to seo-browser: I do like that it displays images – seo-browser.com does not do that.

I’ve been using both browseo.net and seo-browser.com together quite a bit lately – I like getting different looks

Rajdip says:

I am from India & want to start an internet marketing firm to provide seo,sem & smm etc.
your article has given me inspiration & a lot of insights. I hope I can implement this in my work.

Thank you.

Sabih says:

Quite handy tools that you mentioned in here Reid. Google’s Keyword Planner and trends are most common and popular. Besides that Moz is also one pro thing.
I found the-escape’s pageanalyzer quite useful too although it is not included in this list.

Max says:

For speed optimization I recommend http://media4x.com

John Garrett says:

Do you have any seo techniques that you don’t have to be seo saavy other than submitting to google or bing search engines?

Yours and Anne Cushing’s lists are insanely beautiful.

Reid Bandremer Reid Bandremer says:

Thanks Azenith. Although I don’t think this is comparable to Annies list personally – her’s is truly comprehensive; this is just a nice starting point.

Soumya says:

Screaming Frog is really handy but my best SEO tool would be Yoast and SEOPressor. Apart from these I use GW, GA, Adwords Keyword Planner. Heard about GTMetrix but never used but I guess I have to explore that as I am seeing so many reputed bloggers and Optimizers are recommending it. Thanks for sharing this list of resources.

Artem says:

Here is another new FREE keyword research tool that generates over 750 long-tail keywords and works really fast: http://keywordtool.io/. It supports 194 Google domains and 83 languages. Give it a try!

Reid Bandremer Reid Bandremer says:

Soumya,

I agree that Yoast is a must-have if you are a WordPress user.

Never used SEOPressor; I find their site a turn-off in terms of rhetoric (and SEO), but I am slightly intrigued. What are some advantages or disadvantages over Yoast? Have you ever used the plugins together on the same site without ill impact (seems unlikely, but I’m always interested in plugins that have the option to be very “compatible”.

Reid Bandremer Reid Bandremer says:

Thanks Artem,

I’m a habitual UberSuggest user (which is very similar), but I will say that when I tried your suggest-based keyword-research tool http://keywordtool.io/ out today, I really liked the speed. I also like that you bolded the terms that were not in the seed query. I’ll be playing with it more in the days to come.

Reid Bandremer Reid Bandremer says:

Writer note: Got a free tool to share?
I’ve gotten a few responses to this article informing me of new tools. Some are weak, but the few interesting new tools I’ve learned about make it all worth it.

If you have a *FREE* tool that does something different or better than what I’ve listed, please comment. Cool tools will get replies; awesome tools make make the cut if I ever update this.

James says:

myseostudio.com and keywordrevealer.com are two great (free) tools that allow us to do a lot of our SEO for clients sites. Between the two tools you cover a lot of different aspects of both on-page and off-page SEO.

Seb Brocher says:

Great article, Reid, thanks! We just released a free tool called Page Watch so figured I’d chime in:

sitecondor.com/app/#/pagechecks/create

It lets you keep an eye on multiple pages and monitor visual, content, and performance (PageSpeed) changes. If you haven’t yet, check out SiteCondor as well – we’ve got a free trial available.

Thanks again for a great post!

exelent post, i want add another tool :
http://www.semrush.com/

Reid Bandremer Reid Bandremer says:

I listed SEMRush – it’s worth knowing about. I use it when I want info on a site that I don’t have Google Analytics or Webmaster Tools access to.

Umesh Gehlot says:

SEO Browser is good tool bar,Good article.

Reid Bandremer Reid Bandremer says:

Sanjay, this article is about free tools. Brightedge is not free. And it’s quite expensive (and overpriced imo). Does Brightedge offer any free tools I’m unaware of?

Rand Roberthson says:

You should check this one localqueries.com/. It’s easy and free to use tool where you can make google searches on 180 different languages and countries. Great for local SEO

jasa says:

Very helpful, thank you
Great post. Tweet!

simon says:

Great list thank you. I was using Pingdom to test loading speed but found its not really that reliable. GMetrix looks like a great tool so I’m glad I found your article.

John says:

Thanks for the list,
I’m using also SimilarWeb for my SEO Strategy

Amit says:

Multiple Url Opener, Strong SEO tool http://www.fasturlopener.net/

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